Is it just me, or does it seem like every Orioles win is accompanied by a health crisis?
The latest one came tonight. The Orioles rally to defeat the Tigers, 9-5, but shortstop J.J. Hardy is day-to-day after experiencing tightness in his lower left ribcage.
“I was going to play through it - playing catch, doing everything, getting ready for the game,” he said. “I wanted to put a little bit of Icy Hot on it, just to keep it warm. At that point, it got back to Buck (Showalter) that it was tight, it was sore, and he came out and talked to me when I was playing catch and getting ready for the game. He didn’t like it, thought it was better to be safe than sorry. I think it was the right decision.”
Could Hardy play tomorrow night?
“I think so,” he said. “I was ready to go tonight. I really thought I could play. I think it was just kind of to be safe. We’ll see. I’ve got to come back tomorrow and see how it feels and go from there. I don’t know yet.”
Showalter is glad he sat Hardy.
“During BP, just a little tight in lower ribcage,” he said. “Not sure what the concern was - intercostal or oblique. Felt OK, not a big deal, but just to be sure, he went in the cage about 6:30 and it was tightening up on him just a little bit. He went in to get it heated up, and by the time I got all this information, it was 6:50. I went out and had a conversation with him on the field. With the cold weather, I didn’t feel like it was worth the risk, so I made the switch to Izzy (Cesar Izturis). See how he is tomorrow.
“I just talked to him and he said after a couple innings getting treatment, he felt like it was a good idea. I’d rather him say, ‘Hey, I didn’t feel anything. We probably didn’t have to do that,’ so we’ll see what tomorrow brings. That’s the great thing about having Izzy and Robert (Andino), too.”
We could have a roster move if tomorrow night’s game isn’t postponed.
“We’re going to examine whether or not we’re going to need a pitcher for tomorrow because (Josh) Rupe and (Jeremy) Accardo both are down for tomorrow.”
Adam Jones was batting .105 with no homers or RBIs before going 2-for-3 with a home run, three RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base.
Did Showalter consider benching Jones and putting Felix Pie in center field?
“No,” he said. “Crosses my mind with every guy. I think more importantly trying to get everybody in the game. We’re going to get Jake (Fox) out there this next series, and (Robert) Andino probably, too. We’re not going to leave this homestand without getting them all in there.
“To say it never crossed my mind wouldn’t be completely honest, but it wasn’t something I did. I just thought there was more positive to be gained by Jonesy fighting through it. Plus, there are two or three games where he’s the difference-maker in center field.”
So that would be a “yes.” Showalter considered it.
Mark Reynolds was batting .167 with no homers and two RBIs before going 2-for-3 a double, three RBIs and a run scored.
“Last three or four games in Sarasota, he and Jimmy (Presley) got in a little bit better place offensively,” Showalter said. “Just seeing if he can maintain it. He also was brought here to help us defensively. He’s been pretty sharp over there for us. He can turn some hits into outs.”
Chris Tillman threw 32 pitches while giving up two runs in the first, then retired 10 of the next 11 batters.
“That first inning, I felt like I threw a million pitches,” he said. “They fouled off, it felt like, 100 pitches. I wanted to make that second inning a quick one. I just wanted to get back in the dugout. It was a cold night. So the only thing on my mind was, make it a quick one here. And I think tempo was on my side the second and third and fourth innings, and I think that helped me.”
Showalter referred to Tillman as “a work in progress.”
“Young guy we hope learns from the experiences that he’s getting here,” Showalter said. “These guys are getting a chance until some other people might get back. We’d like to see them seize the opportunity. I’d like to think in the past, he wouldn’t have gotten past the first or second inning, but he found a way to get through it. He and Matty (Wieters) both.”
Wieters caught two more third-strike foul tips, which continues to amaze Showalter.
The Orioles have won the first two series of the season. It took until May 11-13 of last year for them to record their second series victory.
The Orioles improved to 13-6-1 in 20 series under Showalter. They’re 39-24 since he was hired.